I’ve photographed several families in my little studio with kiddos from under one year old all the way up to teens. It very rarely fails that as we reach the end of our three hours of shooting and very directed posing, Mom glances at me with a mix of desperation, exhaustion, and sometimes embarrassment as she instructs her children to listen once more with an edge of frustration in her voice. I know this look and it’s often when I take the time to tell her that everything is ok and they’re just being kids and we’ll work with what they give us.
However, I do have some tips for avoiding that stressful experience. The first is to come alone. I know that seems contradictory when you booked a family photoshoot, but often the reason Mom books a family photoshoot is because she doesn’t feel like her portrait is valuable unless her kids are in it. Let me tell you something, you were valuable long before your were a mother and that value holds true still even now that you are, and even more so to those little people that call you Mama. So why not start the day with some pampering just for you? You can take a separate vehicle or have your family drop you off while they have some little people fun with dad and you get treated to hair and wardrobe styling and two hours of portraits by yourself. Then Dad and the kiddos can come back for the family portraits at the end. An hour is usually a much more manageable amount of time for families of any age.
If starting the shoot alone is not possible, then it’s best to keep nap times in mind when booking if any of your kids are still napping. Also, have some favorite activities for them to engage in until it’s time for their portrait is always a great idea. I also suggest limiting outfit choices for the whole family to two. Changing clothes is often not fun for littles and we want as many happy family photos as we can manage. As a very last resort, let me know what your children’s favorite treats are and I’ll be sure to have the bribes on hand!
Location: Wiscasset, Maine.